ABC NEWS, BOSTON HERALD, NBC NEWS, REUTERS (U.S.A.)
BOSTON - As the United States prepares Monday to mark one week since the bombing at the Boston Marathon, the lone surviving suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is reported now to be conscious and responding sporadically in writing to questions.
Investigators are asking the Chechen suspect about other possible cell members, as well as other unexploded bombs, law enforcement sources told ABC News late Sunday night. His older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev died late Thursday night during a gun battle with police after the two were spotted on CCTV footage just before the bombing.
Nearly 48 hours after he was taken into custody, following an intense gun battle and manhunt that shut down the city, the 19-year-old has been communicating with a special team of federal investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital. He was responding to questions mostly in writing because of a throat wound, according to an official who spoke on condition of anonymity. He remains in serious condition.
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Tsarnaev is being treated for a gunshot in the mouth that exited the back of his neck, said Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, who was interviewed on CBS" "60 Minutes." He also suffered a gunshot wound to the leg, Davis added.
The official declined to offer any details about the exchanges, writes USA Today, but said Tsarnaev was providing "substantive" information. Authorities also said that the suspect's neck wound may have been the result of a suicide attempt sometime prior to his capture.
Word that the wounded suspect is able to communicate with authorities came as a surprise, says the Boston Herald, especially after details about the severity of his injuries began to emerge earlier in the day. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino had told an interviewer early on Sunday that “we don’t know if we’ll ever be able to question the individual."
Authorities told Reuters that the sedation, and a tongue injury from the throat wound itself, had left him incapable of speech and precluded questioning by investigators.
U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, the federal prosecutor for the Boston area, was preparing criminal charges on Sunday against Tsarnaev, a naturalized U.S. citizen, according to Davis. It was not clear when charges would be filed, but sources said it could come as early as Monday, reports NBC.